Unlike the beginning of the year, the WWE has been rather fortunate in terms of injuries, especially on SmackDown Live since the brand extension this past July. Names like John Cena, Sting, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Cesaro, and Bray Wyatt headlined the laundry list of injured superstars who were unable to have their names added to the WrestleMania marquee eight months ago in Dallas.
Since the roster returned to full strength, so to speak, Finn Balor became the only headliner forced to the sidelines due to injury. His setback, of course, came during the coronation of his main-roster career in a match against Rollins for the newly-created Universal Championship. The SmackDown brand has been dealt a handful of injuries, but none to anyone who would be considered a main event talent at the present time.
Shelton Benjamin agreed to a deal to return to the WWE, but right before he was to report to SmackDown, WWE medical personnel discovered he had a torn rotator cuff, forcing him to delay his return. Two members of the original Wyatt Family, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, went on the IR in 2016. Harper returned in October from a knee injury just as Rowan underwent surgery for the same procedure that Benjamin endured.
And more recently, Zack Ryder suffered a knee injury on SmackDown two weeks ago, which will keep him out of action for four to nine months. He did so while winning a Battle Royal for him and his Hype Bros partner, Mojo Rawley, which would have earned them a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
That match may have taken place during this past Tuesday’s stacked episode of SmackDown Live, one the company dubbed the “Wild Card Finals.” Instead, the creative team booked a four corners match that saw the Wyatt Family defend their titles against American Alpha, The Usos, and the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno. Jordan and Gable won the match in somewhat of a surprise, but there was some concern backstage afterward.
After the match, Slater sent out a tweet indicating that he would likely have to pay a visit to a doctor the following day. The former SmackDown Tag Team Champion thought he was injured, but according to Cageside Seats, the WWE medical staff gave him a clean bill of health. He tweeted again on Wednesday, saying that everything was good, but it “hurts like hell.” There hasn’t been a clear indication as to what he thought he injured.
As noted, the final SmackDown Live of 2016 was a stacked show, featuring three championship matches and the return of John Cena. Only the tag titles changed hands, however, as both AJ Styles and Alexa Bliss retained their respective championships. AJ’s win set the stage for a Royal Rumble showdown with Cena next month, but the SmackDown Women’s Championship match was compelling in its own right.
During the bout between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, Alexa’s right arm appeared to pop out of the socket, producing quite the gruesome image on SmackDown television. The announce team even questioned whether Becky’s Dis-arm-her submission move actually broke Alexa’s arm.
In the same report, it’s being said that Alexa’s elbow joints are hypermobile, or double jointed. She did not break or dislocate her arm and will be fine. She, of course, continued with the rest of the match and ended up pinning Becky after some interference from La Luchadora and a DDT. She was favoring the arm after the match was over, but it was all part of the act as she can manipulate her arm like that on command.
It’s interesting that Alexa would reveal the manipulation on SmackDown rather than save it for a more high-profile event, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on if she pulls it out again down the line.
[Featured Image by WWE]